Black Enterprise’s 2016 Women of Power Summit opened on Wednesday, March 9, with a record breaking one thousand attendees gathering for the leadership development conference that includes professional workshops, a Macy’s fashion excursion, career coaching, Merrill Lynch/Bank of America financial planning and making new lasting friendships. Now in it’s 11th year, the Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit organizers and executives are excited to launch a new decade.
“It is my great pleasure to welcome you to the first year of a brand new decade for the Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit … designed specifically and exclusively for executive women of color,” Earl Butch Graves Jr., president and CEO of Black Enterprise says. “I want to welcome you the warmth of Hollywood, Florida.”
Reciting this year’s theme he adds, “On behalf of all of us here at Black Enterprise, I want to invite you to relax, to release and most of all to relate so that you can individually and collectively know your worth, own your truth. and embrace your power.”
While addressing the standing-room only, opening night dinner crowd, Caroline Clarke, editorial director and host of the Women of Power Summit TV, complimented the attendees on dressing in the evening’s recommended hues: orange, pink and gold. “I am so thrilled to be here. I have to say you all turned it out in rare form. You are rocking the sunset colors and lighting up this indoor space.”
Clarke kicked the summit in full gear when she shared what makes her most vulnerable and exposed. “As head of the Women of Power brand, I have no problem speaking in front of a hundred people, a thousand people or just interviewing one person in front of a thousand people. But if you want to see me break out in a cold sweat real fast, set me in a room full of strangers and say, ‘Network.’ That is not me. That is way out my comfort zone. Even after all these years of doing these events, even after all these years of writing things that we know we are supposed to do and fully understand the importance of, it is not easy for me. I do it because we have to. We especially have to here. But the truth is for me that’s tough. Don’t even get me started on my love-hate relationship with social media. I do it because I have to but it’s hard for me. That’s the truth. It is true that I wrote a memoir Postcards from Cookie that tells all about my life, but I am ironically very private.”
Clarke essentially gave the women permission to be uncomfortable but to push through and make the best of this opportunity to advance professionally and expand their network.
The three-day empowerment and networking event was held at the HIlton’s Diplomat Resort and Spa in Hollywood, Fla. and is scheduled to end on Friday, March 11, 2016.